Saturday, August 3, 2013

Going Home and Surviving Home

Going Home: A Novel of Survival  by  A. American
Plume/Penguin Group; 7/24/2013
Paperback, 480 pages
ISBN-13: 9780142181270

If society collapsed, could you survive?
When Morgan Carter’s car breaks down 250 miles from his home, he figures his weekend plans are ruined. But things are about to get much, much worse: the country’s power grid has collapsed. There is no electricity, no running water, no Internet, and no way to know when normalcy will be restored—if it ever will be. An avid survivalist, Morgan takes to the road with his prepper pack on his back.
During the grueling trek from Tallahassee to his home in Lake County, chaos threatens his every step but Morgan is hell-bent on getting home to his wife and daughters—and he’ll do whatever it takes to make that happen. 
excerpt at Amazon

Surviving Home by A. American
Plume/Penguin Group; 7/24/2013
Paperback, 528 pages
ISBN-13: 9780142181287

No electricity. No running water. No food. No end in sight. If life as you knew it changed in an instant, would you be prepared?
In A. American’s first novel, Going Home, readers were introduced to Morgan Carter, the resourceful, tough-as-nails survivalist who embarks on a treacherous 250-mile journey across Florida following the collapse of the nation’s power grid. Now reunited with his loving wife and daughters in this follow-up to Going Home, Morgan knows that their happiness is fleeting, as the worst is yet to come. Though for years Morgan has been diligently preparing for emergency situations, many of his neighbors are completely unready for life in this strange new world—and they’re starting to get restless.
With the help of his closest companions, Morgan fights to keeps his home secure—only to discover shocking information about the state of the nation in the process.
My Thoughts:

Going Home: A Novel of Survival and Surviving Home  by  A. American (Angery American in copyright) are two end-of-the-world survivalist/conspiracy theory novels. 

In Going Home we find out that an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) or a coronal mass ejection (CME) has hit the USA and fried the electrical grid. Morgan Carter is 250 miles away from home and he must walk back through a land where society is collapsing. He begins traveling with Jess, a college student trying to get home) and Thad (another survivor trying to get home). They in turn meet, along the way, Thad's friend, Sarge, retired military, who suspects that what happened may not be an accident.  The way home is fraught with danger as the unprepared people want to take what others (Morgan, etc) own.

Morgan is well prepared for the disaster. He always travels with ALL the gear he would need to survive and a backpack to carry his supplies. The beginning of the novel is like a list of survival supplies one should always have in their possession just in case and a step by step outline of what Morgan did, which is all written in first person: I did this, I packed, I ate, I had... And the way Morgan and crew just happen to come across or manage to acquire things they need in Going Home seems a bit too far-fetched. 

Surviving Home  follows Morgan and his family and neighbors, Thad and his family, and Sarge and his men as they make their way in the rapidly deteriorating society.  It appears that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) could be behind the event - or at least took advantage of it to perpetuate nefarious deeds on unsuspecting Americans. Those in the know are fighting back while at the same time they have to fight off their neighbors (sheeple) who didn't prepare for an emergency and are now jealous of what Morgan and the others have. Morgan is most assuredly very well prepared for this disaster.

Let me just say right from the start that I get being prepared for emergencies, something that I carried over from my childhood on the plains. I keep enough food around so that no one will starve if we're snowed in for a The Long Winter amount of time. I buy stuff on sale and store it.  That's just common sense. There's water just in case something should happen. But, my car is not filled up with a personal survival kit. If an EMP or CME hit during a normal day, I'd be within an easy couple of mile walk from my home.  Right now my car contains 3 umbrellas (don't ask) a gum wrapper, a plastic grocery bag and there might be a water bottle under the seat.  

Yes, being hit with an EMP or MCE (as of this writing we just missed one a couple weeks ago) is a frightening prospect, but the idea of always carrying survival equipment  and weapons just in case is... scarier.  Of course you need an emergency kit if you are traveling distances, but I have a feeling that most people's idea of an emergency kit is closer to my idea rather than a full out pack of survival gear, MRE's (military meals ready to eat) and weapons. 

While both novels have an interesting premise, the actual quality of the writing is bad enough that it detracts from the credibility of the storyline. The author also assumes that everyone reading will know what all the acronyms and abbreviations stand for, which was not the case. Certainly some of them are easy to figure out (DHS, MRE) but I had to sit and think about what was happening when Morgan pulled out his binos. Wouldn't it have been just as easy to write binoculars? Do people actually call them binos? I have a pair of good binos, but I've always said binoculars.

The story in both novels is good, if a little paranoid, but the actual technical quality of writing leaves a lot to be desired. If you want to read Going Home: A Novel of Survival and Surviving Home and know that you can easily overlook the problems with the writing, the story is interesting. If you know you will be annoyed by problems with the writing, you better skip these novels. 

Note that the second novel, Surviving Home, is actually better written than the first, Going Home. There should also be a third coming out sometime based on how the second novel ended. Recommended for the story, not the execution.

Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of the Penguin Group via Netgalley for review purposes.

No comments: